Frequently Asked Questions about Poland
Expats considering a move to Poland will naturally have many concerns about life in this culturally rich country.
From transport concerns to salary expectations, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about expat life in Poland.
What is a PESEL number, and how do I get one?
All new expats moving to Poland for more than three months will need to register at a local district office (urzad gminy), and will need to obtain a PESEL number (Public Electronic System of Population Records). Citizens of the European Union (EU) must register within 30 days of arrival, while non-EU nationals will need to register within four days of arrival.
To register for the PESEL number, expats must bring their passport and appear in person at a public office. This unique 11-digit number reflects one's date of birth, sex and a specific number allotted to the registering individual. The PESEL is vital for completing many bureaucratic affairs, like opening a bank account or applying for a mortgage.
Do I need a car in Poland as an expat?
Poland's larger urban centres, like Warsaw and Krakow, have cost-effective and efficient modes of public transportation. Buses, trams and state-of-the-art subway systems are available for use, and plenty of package deals exist for ticket purchasing. Night buses and meter taxis are also plentiful in the main urban centres.
On the other hand, if living outside of any of the large Polish cities, or even if living in a suburb on the periphery of the centre, it will be necessary to buy a car in Poland.
Driving culture in Poland tends to be aggressive. Speed limits are often not adhered to, and overtaking is the norm.
What kind of salary can an expat working in Poland expect?
Expats with a quality education, and who have gained valuable experience in a specialised field, like IT, can expect to earn a salary above the Polish average. Otherwise, earning potential in Poland is quite limited compared to Western Europe.
That being said, the cost of living in Poland is among the lowest in continental Europe.